Rittenhouse 100-proof Rye
I've been searching for the Rittenhouse 100 ever since I tried the 80, and then read about the 100. Some brief background, I bought the 80 in Bardstown, KY while attending the Bourbon Festival last year. I only bought it because I had bought 2 expensive Ryes (Black Maple Hill 18-year recommended by bartender in Berkeley, and Vintage Rye 23-year recommended by liquor store in Bardstown), the Rittenhouse 80-proof was about $10 and I figured I wanted to find out what $10 Rye tasted like. Well, when I got the Rittenhouse 80 home, it was smooth and fantastic--certainly for $10. I did some research on Rittenhouse, found out it was made at Heaven Hill where we visited in Bardstown, and also found out that the Rittenhouse 100 won a 'Best Whiskey any price' award. So, an obsession was born. I swear that last year I couldn't find any Rittenhouse in California. In December, I tried in vain to find the Rittenhouse 100 in Lexington, KY, but I did bring home another bottle of the Rittenhouse 80.
So, yesterday, I idly check the Beverages and More chain in California, and voila! I end up bringing two bottles of the Rittenhouse 100 home.
Anyways, after this long obsession, here's my tasting notes:
First sip, first impression, it's the most bourbon-ey rye I've had. Still, not very hot for 100 proof. It's got the bourbon after taste without the tang or the sweetness.
It really fills your mouth with flavor, very apparent to all parts of the pallet. I've been reading stories that Bourbon cocktails are better with Rye, and this Rye makes sense if I can get a consistent supply at $20/bottle.
This is not a drink for lingering. I really like drinking it sip after sip, no gulps, no pausing, because I like the way it tastes while it's active. As I'm writing, the double shot is almost gone. It's not sweet, but it's not bitter. Well balanced, the classic whiskey caramel without sweetness. I think the best word for this Rye is balance, which explains why it wins awards. There's nothing here that could 'offend'. This may be the first quality whiskey where I could see two people opening a bottle, then looking up and suddenly realizing the bottle is empty.
Rittenhouse 100 is available in some NYC area stores. I have been picking it up at Stew Lennards wines in Yonkers for $16 a 750 ml bottle. I think it is a great rye and a great buy as well. It's nice for sipping on the rocks, but it really shows its stuff in Manhattans and other rye based cocktails.
I just tried Michters Rye at Astor in NYC for $33 and thought that Rittenhouse 100 tasted preferable to me and was 1/2 the price.
Rittenhouse 100 can be ordered from Sam's or Binny's for $12-13 per 750 mls. If your state doesn't prevent you from importing interstate hooch give 'em a shot.
I can't vouch for their mail order service but I know a few people who can. I can vouch for their in-person customer service. They're both local shops for me and I'm a big fan of both operations.